Daily Archives: June 15, 2010

City hikes water and sewer rates; average resident to see $3.52 a month increase

wateringThe average Wichita water and sewer customer will see their bill climb by $3.52 a month under rate hikes approved today.

The 7.5 percent hike to water rates and 10 percent increase to sewer rates is effective July 1 and it follows revelations earlier this year that the city miscalculated how it would repay a massive aquifer recharge project. Water and sewer rates will go up by another 8 percent each in January.

Council members voted 5-2 on the new rates. Vice Mayor Jeff Longwell and council member Lavonta Williams opposed. Read More »

Krzyzewski for Congress? Apparently, nobody here even wants to hear him speak

Mike Krzyzewski

Mike Krzyzewski

Jim Anderson, candidate for the Kansas 4th District congressional seat, wanted to make a good showing in an online straw vote being run by KNSS radio.

So his campaign sent out an e-mail about 1 p.m. today to supporters, urging them to go to the station’s Web site and cast a vote for Anderson.

Nothing too unusual there.

But if you followed the link in the message, the list of names you were asked to vote on were financier Warren Buffett, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, Apple chief executive Steve Jobs, former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, newsman Tom Brokaw and Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski — none of whom are known to have expressed any interest whatsoever in representing Kansas in Congress.

Instead of linking to the KNSS straw poll, the e-mail had actually linked to Wichita Business Journal, which was in the process of asking its readers: “Who would you most like to see speak in Wichita?”

The Anderson campaign sent out a corrective e-mail with the right link about an hour later after an inquiry from, well, me. Campaign spokesman Shanen Taylor blamed the mixup on a computer glitch by a volunteer.

As of 2:43 p.m., Anderson and Mike Pompeo were tied for the lead in the KNSS straw vote with 37 percent each; Wink Hartman had 17 percent and Jean Schodorf and Paij Rutschman trailed with 4 percent each.

Bear in mind that online votes are structurally unsound as a gauge of public opinion. And the audience of KNSS — the Wichita radio home of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage and a bevy of other conservative talk show hosts — likely skews pretty far to the right.

But it does look like sports fans are pretty thin on the ground in Biz Journal country.

Buffett was the runaway fave in the paper’s online vote with 33 percent; Gates and Jobs were tied at 16 percent each; Dungy and Brokaw were tied at 9 percent.

Coach Krzyzewski — winner of four NCAA basketball titles and a 2008 Olympic gold medal — was drawing only a 6 percent share.

County commissioners holding budget hearings

Sedgwick County commissioners are hearing today from department heads about funding needs for next year.

Budget hearings are open to the public and are taking place in the commission’s meeting room on the third floor of the courthouse, 525 N. Main.

Commissioners this morning heard from Sheriff Robert Hinshaw, District Attorney Nola Foulston and public safety director Bob Lamkey.

This afternoon they are listening to presentations by the divisions of information and operations and community development.

Budget hearings continue Wednesday starting at 1:30 p.m. Departments making presentations Wednesday include planning, public works, the county counselor’s office and finance.

City loosens bicycle laws; cyclists to push for more changes in Topeka

bikeBicyclists can ride on the street and won’t have to be within 5 feet of the curb anymore, unless there is a “usable” bike path next to the street.

That’s the primary impact of an overhaul of bicycle laws city council members approved unanimously this morning. The changes also eliminate the need to license bicycles with the city and the need to use a bike rack if one is available within a city block.

Bicyclists praised the changes and the city’s outreach to riders in crafting the law. But they questioned what the definition of a “usable” path is and how it will be enforced. City officials said it comes down to what a reasonable person would consider a “usable” path.

To loosen the law more than that would require changes to state law, which overrules local ordinances. Read More »